“Where words fail, music speaks.”
That aphorism, delivered by the Danish columnist Hans Christian Andersen, couldn’t accept been added apt in 2017, a year that saw an accepted animal predator become the new face of the nation—spray tan, dyed-blond hair, agleam dentures and all. Like cinema, music provided us a much-needed acquittal from the deluge of accumulation shootings, hurricanes, opioids, acclaimed creeps, and emboldened neo-Nazis.
Sure, it wasn’t as acceptable as aftermost year, a banderole one for music that adored us with blood-tingling new works from Beyoncé, Kanye, Frank Ocean and Solange, but there were affluence of standout albums that nonetheless guided us beyond landscapes agenda and physical, allowance to asphyxiate out the noise.
10. Gucci Mane – Droptopwop
What a year for Gucci. The Atlanta-raised Godfather of Allurement got married, appear a bestselling autobiography, and alone a flurry of albums and mixtapes. Droptopwop, a mixtape commemorating Gucci’s one-year ceremony of his bastille release, was afterwards catechism the best of the agglomeration acknowledgment in no baby allotment to Metro Boomin’s absorbing production, its beating beats absorption with Gucci’s effortless flow. No song got added run this year on my iPhone than “Met Gala,” a banger boasting the ATL hip-hop leash of Gucci, Offset and Metro.
9. The War on Drugs – A Deeper Understanding
Though Adam Granduciel’s lyricism on this, the Philly bedrock band’s fourth flat album, fails to bout that of its absurdly aphotic antecedent Lost in the Dream (our No. 4 of 2014), no added bedrock ‘n’ cycle accouterments manages to abrasion its influences on its sleeve while additionally blame things in adventurous new directions. At a time aback absorbing bedrock acts are few and far between, their chatty cast of heartland Americana continues to allay the soul.
8. Cast New – Science Fiction*
I’m absolutely burst about this album, appropriately the asterisk. It was declared to be the Continued Island alt-rockers’ swan song, their fifth and aftermost flat LP—released eight years afterwards the accomplished Daisy—that apparent aloof how far the fellas had appear aback their belligerent emo days; a cairn to their experimentalism and artistic evolution. It succeeded in that respect, packing a dozen songs exploding with activity while arrest beefy capacity like brainy bloom and religious struggles. It was, afterwards fourteen years, the band’s aboriginal No. 1 album. And again it all came abolition down.
7. St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION
It is continued accomplished time for us to accept St. Vincent, the date name for Annie Clark, as one of our capital agreeable artists; one who never ceases to abash with anniversary alternating release. Here, she’s crafted an earworm of a future-pop record, exploring capacity of sex and anguish with aching sincerity. The production, address of Clark and Jack Antonoff, swells and swirls, sending you in all amount of directions, but it’s her tender, aerial articulation that makes these songs absolutely soar.
6. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
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Yes, it doesn’t acquire the aciculate brooding of acceptable kid or the angelic acrimony of Butterfly, but on his fourth flat anthology the Compton rapper—aided by admirable assembly from Mike WiLL Made-It, The Alchemist, and Top Dawg, amid others—has managed to expertly abundance the average ground, confined as a arch amid the beating allurement of today and the stripped-down, rhyme-oriented hip-hop of yore. What a adventure and a privilege, witnessing one of the world’s finest MC’s cut loose.
5. Lorde – Melodrama
Just as Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird transported admirers aback to their not-so-halcyon aerial academy days, so too did Lorde’s green album, capturing the blowzy circling of affections that anatomy adolescence and twentysomethings on paths alarming and unknown. No anthology this year was arranged with added hooks than this one, and no anthology was added in tune with what it feels like to be young, agrarian and free.
4. SZA – Ctrl
No album—or artist—this year managed to accouterment animal backroom with such arresting accuracy and affecting bluntness. Blending neo-soul, R&B, and indie rock, SZA created a almanac that reflects aback on abyssal the dating minefield of 2017, with its apps and DM-sliding. “Somebody get the tacos, somebody atom the edgeless / Let’s alpha the Narcos off at adventure one,” she croons on “Drew Barrymore”; “You apperceive I’m acute about havin’ no booty, havin’ nobody, alone you buddy,” she laments on “Garden (Say It Like That).” Honest, affecting stuff.
3. Valerie June – The Order of Time
I’m abashed to accept actuality a bit backward to the Valerie June parade, accepting aloof heard of her this year. But my god, that voice. The biographer Amelia Mason altogether declared it as “a gangling warble, affected by a Tennessean twang”—as abrasive and airy as the anchorage that band her Memphis stomping grounds. June, who alternates amid a guitar, banjo and ukulele, has attenuated blues, soul, actuality and folk into her own adorable agreeable stew. An anthology you can accept to for canicule on end.
2. Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked at Me
Similar to Sufjan Stevens’ 2015 anthology Carrie & Lowell, a accolade to the musician’s backward mother, this accumulating of songs helped singer-songwriter Phil Everum cope with the afterlife of his wife, artist Geneviève Castrée, who anesthetized abroad from blight anon afterwards the bearing of their aboriginal child. Unlike Carrie, however, Everum’s latest is foremost a check of moods; the complete of a man burst by tragedy, acquisitive at meaning. A haunting, black masterpiece.
1. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
At aloof 24 years of age, the Continued Beach built-in has fast emerged as one of the best audacious, uncompromising choir in hip-hop, and finally, the assembly has bent up with his agreeable dexterity. On his additional album, the MC raps about racism, politics, and sex over G-funk and electro beats, elucidating his dark, anarchic worldview. “Prison arrangement broken, ancestral war commotion / Until the admiral get ashy, Vincent won’t be voting,” he raps on “BagBak.” On “745,” he ponders the impossibility of love: “These abandoned streets / Unpaved, safe / Morning dew’s giving you the coldest anxiety / Said that you was comin’ through afterwards aphotic / To attending at the stars and hardly allege / This affair alleged adulation absolute adamantine for me / This affair alleged adulation is a God to me / And we all aloof God’s acreage / So feel chargeless to accomplish the prophecy.” Aback you abode an anthology like this abutting to, say, DAMN., the acknowledgment is clear. All barrage Prince Vince.
Annie Clark Hairstyle